“Rango,” the animated children’s film, has been sparking controversy even before it opened due to the amount of smoking in the movie and the effect it may have on children. Critics of the movie say that it influences children to take up smoking because the characters smoke excessively.
The National Cancer Institute found that the more smoking children see on-screen, the more likely they will become smokers. The president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Matthew L. Myers, even went so far to say that any movie that has smoking in it should be given an R-rating immediately. This is due to the fact that the rating system currently does not take smoking into account when rating a movie.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Breathe California have also released similar statements denouncing the film. However, the spokesperson for the Motion Picture Association of America, Elizabeth Kaltman, has said that the rating system should not be used to persuade film companies to use less smoking in films.
Even though big tobacco-free corporations are behind the anti-“Rango” movement, they have a biased opinion in how children will respond to the film.
The characters that smoke in the movie are not main stars but evil characters in the movie and cigars are only seen about three times. This does not make smoking the act that children concentrate on. “Rango” is a cartoon set in a world where desert animals can talk, socialize in saloons and have stand-offs with one another.
It is intended to be used for entertainment purposes only and is not supposed to be taken seriously. Cartoons have depicted many scenes that are dangerous like crossing the street without looking both ways, drinking alcoholic beverages and hitting people over the head with heavy objects. Even though these bad habits are depicted, children understand the concept of fiction and do not take the acts as habits to live up to.
There are plenty of shows on television depicting bad habits and parents do not feel the need to boycott those and get entire corporations behind them in order to give them bad publicity. Children and teenagers will be more influenced if they saw idols like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez smoking than they would if an imaginary cartoon character smoked in a movie.
Furthermore, smoking is the least important thing in the film that parents should be concerned with their children watching. The movie is filled with sexual innuendos and at times bad language, which are more inappropriate for children viewers.
Corporations and parents should not be making a big deal about this being a children’s movie because it is only depicted very few times. They should be more concerned about their children hearing the inappropriate comments made throughout the film. Parents also need to make the decision if they want to take their children to see the movie in the first place.
“I laughed,” Mollie Le Veque, senior art history major, said. “If parents don’t want their kids to see it, then don’t take them to see it.”